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Best windows software player


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I started a previous thread, but just called it best Software player, but got too much input on MACs, and i refuse (like the vast majority of pc users) to bite the apple.

 

Apple has decent players (or so i have heard, e.g. A+), but there is nothing decent for windows players. They are all missing something.

 

So i plan on keeping this thread going until I either buy another product (i already bought jriver, but it is too bloated for my liking, and HQPLAYER bests it for SQ), or end up buying a hardware media server that has a windows control point.

 

I believe I have tried all the windows offerings (except for roon) and am not happy yet...mainly because of my love of DSD. There isn't one decent windows player or control point for windows for one or more reasons.

 

Here's the list.

 

ROON - I have not tried, nor will i ever try because of it's $500 price tag. Others have said the SQ is inferior to HQPlayer, and I believe it. Why would anyone buy a product for $500 that has inferior sound to a product 1/3 the price. Many will suggest to spend $700 and use HQPLAYER with ROON. I personally don't want to have to spend $700 to get a decent player, and don't want to have to use 2 players to get satisfaction. Also, what FOOL would spend $500 when they know they have sold it for $350, unless their pocket are so deep where $700 won't affect them financially...not my camp anyway.

 

HQPLAYER- Best SQ available today with a reasonable price, but oh, that GUI...not intuitive, difficult to do simple tasks...even his best supporters don't like his GUI.

 

AUDIOGATE - Great if you have a KORG DAC, and even if you don't it will sound better than 90% of the players out there, but it only supports Native DSD with Korg DACS.

 

JPLAY - sounds great, no native dsd, and no gui.

 

RESONIC - sounds great, very fast, but no native DSD. In beta testing, and they "say" they are currently working on ASIO for native DSD implementation....great potential here.

 

JRIVER - one word, BLOATWARE. many people like it, but i easily can hear HQPLAYER best it in SQ and out of the box it is not native DSD friendly... you can get there after about 3-4 settings, but again, HQPLAYER easily bests it for sq and much simpler to get going.

 

FOOBAR - with plugins, native DSD capable, but you need 2 different plugins and the end result is subpar HQPLAYER for sound. Probably the best currently available for windows due to HQPlayers GUI and flexibility...but i am still searching for one that supports native DSD out of the box, has a decent GUI, and will rival the sound of HQPLAYER.

 

There are a slew of others, but not that i am aware of that supports NATIVE DSD, which i believe is the best format for SQ.

 

What we need is Audivarna for windows or something similar....is anything in the works?

 

If not, my next purchase will likely be a aurrendar once they have a windows control point (they market that it is in the works).

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I will continue to update "MY" list in this thread as i recall, learn about existing, and as more products come available.

 

HQPLAYER- Best SQ available today with a reasonable price, but oh, that GUI...not intuitive, difficult to do simple tasks...even his best supporters don't like his GUI.

 

AUDIOGATE - Great if you have a KORG DAC, and even if you don't it will sound better than 90% of the players out there, but it only supports Native DSD with Korg DACS.

 

JPLAY - sounds great, no native dsd, and no gui.

 

RESONIC - sounds great, very fast, but no native DSD. In beta testing, and they "say" they are currently working on ASIO for native DSD implementation....great potential here.

 

JRIVER - one word, BLOATWARE. many people like it, but i easily can hear HQPLAYER best it in SQ and out of the box it is not native DSD friendly... you can get there after about 3-4 settings, but again, HQPLAYER easily bests it for sq and much simpler to get going.

 

FOOBAR - with plugins, native DSD capable, but you need 2 different plugins and the end result is subpar HQPLAYER for sound. Probably the best currently available for windows due to HQPlayers GUI and flexibility...but i am still searching for one that supports native DSD out of the box, has a decent GUI, and will rival the sound of HQPLAYER.

 

XXHIGHEND - non-starter no DSD

 

MEDIA MONKEY - according to the internet this is most popular commerical program for windows - for me, non-starter, no DSD...although the interface looks very nice.

 

WTF - support native dsd, but no GUI.

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I started a previous thread, but just called it best Software player, but got too much input on MACs, and i refuse (like the vast majority of pc users) to bite the apple.
Can we assume that you've given up on your Teac NT-503's internal/firmware DSD file player and have instead opted to use one of its DAC inputs tethered to a computer?

 

Was it a sound quality issue, eg, how does the NT-503's own player compare to HQPlayer outputting to the NT-503's DAC?

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Guess the full GUI media players are going to sound inferior compared to the limited/non GUI players due to the bloat. So if you want a GUI, guess your going to have to distinguish which players offer a proper GUI/format capabilities and which don't, then evaluate on SQ. That is why I went with JRiver, plus needed video HQ audio capabilities.

 

Looks like you have, Roon, JRiver, Foobar. Pick your poison. Expensive, cheap, free. JRiver is the only one to play back video.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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There are two great free programs not on your list:

1. Bug Head - best sounding player imo, not your most user friendly interface. I use Remote Desktop from my IPad

2. HYSOLID - HYSOLID | Hi-Res PC audio player (free) This by far the bests the bunch on your list. There is a thread on the jplay site for you to read as well. You can use jplay asio as output. The gui is very intuitive, and responsive on both iDevice and droid device.

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Can we assume that you've given up on your Teac NT-503's internal/firmware DSD file player and have instead opted to use one of its DAC inputs tethered to a computer?

 

Was it a sound quality issue, eg, how does the NT-503's own player compare to HQPlayer outputting to the NT-503's DAC?

 

 

I found using upnp (minimserver and upplay) was quite comparable to using hqplayer and usb implementation. I havn't done serious comparisons at length to be able to say i prefer one sq over the other. I will continue to compare....but to be honest, my biggest desirability is remote control from a PC. As you know the upplay did that for me via upnp, but it was slower than usb. I now am running remote desktop to the media pc so i have my windows control...so for the time i am favoring going back to the windows programs and usb implementation, than using upplay.

 

As suggested, i am not content with current windows offerings.

 

I may end up with sonore and roon, but roon will have to change their price structure and have better sq first (once spoiled by hqplayer, i won't tolerate something less sq wise), and i certainly am not going to buy both roon and hqplayer. I am certain a better offering is on the frontier.

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There are two great free programs not on your list:

1. Bug Head - best sounding player imo, not your most user friendly interface. I use Remote Desktop from my IPad

2. HYSOLID - HYSOLID | Hi-Res PC audio player (free) This by far the bests the bunch on your list. There is a thread on the jplay site for you to read as well. You can use jplay asio as output. The gui is very intuitive, and responsive on both iDevice and droid device.

 

 

I have tried hysolid already, and discounted it for one reason or another, which i don't

recall right now...but i will revisit so that i can update the listing.

 

Bughead i have heard of but haven't found a windows download...can you share a link? I believe that was the japanese program which directions are also in japanese. I will still try and include in my list if you can share a link?

 

I am thinking that Hysolid may be the same mfr as the one that comes with the TEAC? i will know once i see it, but if it is, it was no where in comparison to hqplayer imho.

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Guess the full GUI media players are going to sound inferior compared to the limited/non GUI players due to the bloat. So if you want a GUI, guess your going to have to distinguish which players offer a proper GUI/format capabilities and which don't, then evaluate on SQ. That is why I went with JRiver, plus needed video HQ audio capabilities.

 

Looks like you have, Roon, JRiver, Foobar. Pick your poison. Expensive, cheap, free. JRiver is the only one to play back video.

 

 

i have jriver licensed and even paid update fees in last month, but still don't use it...i gave it another try, but the sq wasn't on par.

Audiogate, foobar, and free trial of hqplayer are my current players that i use.

I don't hear as much a difference on low res files, but where audiogate and hqplayer shine is when listening to native dsd.

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I don't hear as much a difference on low res files, but where audiogate and hqplayer shine is when listening to native dsd.

 

If you are not doing upsampling with HQPlayer, you are not really using it at all. :D

 

You should be playing your low res upsampled to DSD to really hear what it is about. And you can also upsample DSD to higher rates.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Here is a link for bughead - it is not very easy to understand so it my not be your thing:

Infinity Blade HQ (Bug Head Emperor) worth trying - Computer Audio - JPLAY - hi-end audio player for Windows

 

I also want to add that I paid for jplay, jriver and now HQPlayer.

My comments above were tilted to the user experience/sq combo that you are looking for.

I have used bughead/jplay for the last year and a half and couldn't be happier until now.

 

I am now using HQPlayer upsampling to DSD512 and using Alchemy desktop to get around some of the HQ front end shortcomings...

HQPlayer up-sampling is really where it is at as Miska stated above. I have also started using convolution filters generated from REW and imported to HQPlayer to get rid of my nasty room modes and apply a house curve.

For HQP, I really don't want to see anything added other than a tree browser for my needs (GUI wise)- even better would be a HQPlayer service without a front end with a third party such as Alchemy using Miskas' API to control the app.

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Here is a link for bughead - it is not very easy to understand so it my not be your thing:

Infinity Blade HQ (Bug Head Emperor) worth trying - Computer Audio - JPLAY - hi-end audio player for Windows

 

I also want to add that I paid for jplay, jriver and now HQPlayer.

 

Thanks for all the information. i will definitely try bughead (already tried jplay), but if you have tried bughead and stuck with HQP, i will likely feel the same.

 

I have used bughead/jplay for the last year and a half and couldn't be happier until now.

I am now using HQPlayer upsampling to DSD512 and using Alchemy desktop to get around some of the HQ front end shortcomings...

HQPlayer up-sampling is really where it is at as Miska stated above.

 

 

For HQPlayer, I really don't want to see anything added other than a tree browser for my needs (GUI wise)- even better would be a HQPlayer service without a front end with a third party such as Alchemy using Miskas' API to control the app.

 

Sounds like Miska has found another strong supporter of HQPlayer in you, and like everyone else you would like a tweek to the GUI....can you explain what you mean by wanting a treeview? It already has that? Do you mean a treeview you can play from without having to add to playlist or what are you asking for? The top pane that he calls library view, is what i would call treeview?

 

Can you explain the alchemy integration with hqp you speak of? that sounds like it may be the ticket for me as well, if you can use another GUI but his player. I know roon users are doing this and are happy. Can you give me step-by-step instructions on what i need to do to accomplish this?

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If you are not doing upsampling with HQPlayer, you are not really using it at all. :D

 

You should be playing your low res upsampled to DSD to really hear what it is about. And you can also upsample DSD to higher rates.

 

The vast majority of the music i listen to now is already 2xDSD or higher. Even if you say i am not using your upsampling, your player still sounds far above the rest, but i will keep that in mind if i ever have a need to listen to something lower than 2xDSD...not sure i would upsample 2xDSD to 4xDSD..but i will give it a whirl in the future...right now, still looking for a decent gui, and this alchemy may be the ticket i have been looking for.

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I have fooled with many of these and some on iOS but my requirement is that it must support multichannel as well as DSD.

HQPLAYER- Best SQ available today with a reasonable price, but oh, that GUI...not intuitive, difficult to do simple tasks...even his best supporters don't like his GUI.
Granted.

 

JRIVER - one word, BLOATWARE. many people like it, but i easily can hear HQPLAYER best it in SQ and out of the box it is not native DSD friendly... you can get there after about 3-4 settings, but again,
C'mon. It ain't that hard and, in fact, it can be made more customized to one's particular preferences than any other.

 

HQPLAYER easily bests it for sq and much simpler to get going.
I agree about the sound but it is no easier to implement than JRiver.

 

So, I use both and drag the selection from JRiver to HQPlayer. So far, the best of both worlds.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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I have fooled with many of these and some on iOS but my requirement is that it must support multichannel as well as DSD.

Granted.

 

C'mon. It ain't that hard and, in fact, it can be made more customized to one's particular preferences than any other.

 

I agree about the sound but it is no easier to implement than JRiver.

 

So, I use both and drag the selection from JRiver to HQPlayer. So far, the best of both worlds.

 

Thanks...it seems most everyone that likes HQPlayer uses a different GUI. I would likely jump on that bandwagon also if i knew how? Although i want something a bit more integrated than "dragging from one player to another"? I think i hear that others have integrated ROON and Alchemy such that they use their interface but it plays to hqplayer. That sounds far more enticing, than "dragging from one to another"? As for Jriver, it's not difficult, but i just forget where the 3 settings are...you would think they would make native dsd a default setting where you wouldn't have to "look" for these settings. Maybe they just figure a lot of people don't have dacs that support native dsd...but they should make it just one setting rather than 3 hidden in different spots...jmo...enough of a pain where i feel the "gripe" is substantiated.

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^^^^ Since i have paid for Jriver, and i like the interface well enough, i think i would like to use jriver to play to hqplayer if that is possible? Not interested though if i would have to "drag" from one to the other...is it possible jriver can be configured where it is a bit more integrated?

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...

can you explain what you mean by wanting a treeview? It already has that? Do you mean a treeview you can play from without having to add to playlist or what are you asking for? The top pane that he calls library view, is what i would call treeview?

 

Can you explain the alchemy integration with hqp you speak of? that sounds like it may be the ticket for me as well, if you can use another GUI but his player. I know roon users are doing this and are happy. Can you give me step-by-step instructions on what i need to do to accomplish this?

 

Sorry I meant file browser - I know where my music is stored and I cant always find it in the HQP library view.

 

Alchemy Desktop:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f11-software/alchemy-desktop-touch-friendly-control-interface-hqplayer-windows-29567/

the Alchemy dl link is in the first post and they have a setup doc online that is fairly usefull.

 

What is nice about it is they are offering a 30 day free trial out of 60 days. This hasn't been around very long, but i use it in WS2012r2 w/ao in core mode without issue.

There are a few bugs I here and there, but mostly i have had little trouble with it. You choose the songs and create a playlist that gets posted to HQP. You can also create and save playlists in Alchemy.

So for me this was a big plus as I use my iPad / Windows remote desktop and with Alchemy I can actually get around the gui well.

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^^^^ Since i have paid for Jriver, and i like the interface well enough, i think i would like to use jriver to play to hqplayer if that is possible? Not interested though if i would have to "drag" from one to the other...is it possible jriver can be configured where it is a bit more integrated?
No. I have pressed that matter.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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As for Jriver, it's not difficult, but i just forget where the 3 settings are...you would think they would make native dsd a default setting where you wouldn't have to "look" for these settings. Maybe they just figure a lot of people don't have dacs that support native dsd...but they should make it just one setting rather than 3 hidden in different spots...jmo...enough of a pain where i feel the "gripe" is substantiated.
You only have to find it once.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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